The Journals of JC Greening

 

Here you will find the journal of a true mad man.  The entries will include a variety of styles, topics, and philosophies because, quite simply put, the man writing them is one of many personalities.  Some faces are dark, some are bright…but all are from the space where words and thoughts intermingle and dance within the cosmos of the unknown that we humans label the “individual”.  Read on and enter a world of mystery, memory, and macabre.  Enter…my world.

And the Demon Smiles...

Chapter 3 – Trick or Treating Part 1

What most fail to see is that Halloween brings more communities together for one night than any other day of the year.  Thanksgiving is supposed to bring thanks, but oftentimes only brings tight knit families together and separates them from the world for a day, as they hide in their tucked away kitchens and living rooms, sharing secrets and stories in which only privileged members can partake. 

Christmas divides communities, putting the spotlight on anyone different, anyone who does not celebrate Christ’s birth, and shuns them from activities.  I remember several children in the warm elementary classrooms of my youth, who for one reason or another would not participate in the gift exchanges and joys of the holiday, and would be made fun of for not believing in “Christmas”.  When asked why, they often would just say, “My family does not celebrate Christmas.”  This left many of our curiosities shrouded in an impenetrable veil of mystery, though by the look of many of the outcasted children’s faces, they wondered why at an even deeper level than those around them who fit the “normal” societal traditions.

July 4th, Easter, Memorial Day, Valentine’s Day – They all chastise and separate, split and shatter.

But Halloween is for everyone.  It does not shun. It does not require belief. It simply embraces every living soul…and even those who have moved on to the next level.  All are truly welcome to run into its wide-open arms and feel the safety of the magical holiday.

Safety?  Yes, that’s right.  On a night when those who choose to not celebrate the holiday claim it is the most dangerous night of the year, we actually greet the greatest love found throughout the year.  Due to the holiday not separating a community, there is no need for divisive behavior, violent outbursts to prove one side is more right than the other, or dark actions taken out of frustrated class differences.  Instead, Halloween whispers in everyone’s ear that this is the one night they can be their true identities and not be pushed to the side or unseen (unless you want to be).

Are you poor?  No problem.  Find a sheet, cut some holes in it, and magically you are a ghost, capable of dancing, hollering, or sneaking up on unsuspecting citizens.  Grab a pillow case and you are able to partake in all of the fearful festivities, sugary treats, and deliciously dark activities for the night.

Are you shy? No problem.  Hide behind a devilish mask and you can let your inner self shine with no fear of being identified, ridiculed, or embarrassed.  Stutter?  Now you can yell and scream.  Glasses? Behind a mask, no one can tell.  Too skinny, tall, fat, short, acne, wheelchair?  All vanished for the night thanks to a well-designed costume. Dead? Come back and play with the living on this glorious night and you will fit right in with the breathing.

Halloween puts everyone on the same plane of existence, existing to allow true release of the internal madness, pent up smiles and laughs, ranting sadness, and mental middle fingers we give to the world on a minute-by-minute magnitude.  No matter who you are, all are invited to release in joy with jumps and bobs, skips and howls.

And howl is exactly what I did back in 1989.  I had one of my hardest years in school, being made fun of on a daily basis for being the new kid, too skinny, poor, and anything else kids could find on me to squeeze out another laugh.  I needed release.  Halloween sent me an invitation to its party, and the world was the address.  I remember running between houses in an attempt to get as much candy as I possibly could, not only for my own tongue, which had gone into a sugar drought due to my family struggling economically, but also for my entire family.  My sister achieved the age of knowing the greatness of sweetness.  My cousins had moved out to South Dakota to try and make it in the Wild West with the rest of my family – they struggled as well.  Everyone looked at me as I left that early evening with sweet hopes on their famished faces, Halloween hopes.  I would not let them down.

Returning with almost a full pillow case of candy, I remember pouring the candy onto the family dining room table and everyone diving into the pile of plush and pillowy goodness.  The laughter, the smiles, and the love that was shared around the table that night gave all of us sweet release, which was not only provided by me running endlessly this so-called dark night, but by all of the community that gave for giving sake.  The community had provided this love and laughter, and each member did the same around their own tables this giving night.  That love lasts to this day in my memories.

But there was a greater release for me that night.  As I was finishing up gathering as many treats as I could from the neighborhood and visited the last house for the night, I just happened to look up into the 9 o’clock sky through the small eye holes in my werewolf mask, which I had used for Halloween the past three years.  There was the moon in all of its glory, beaming through the misty clouds, which were starting to drop crystalized water molecules upon my three-layered clothing.  It whispered into my mind, letting me know it was time to truly release.  I stopped in the middle of the cold, paved suburban road, stretched my body to its greatest height, inhaled the intoxicating autumn air, and…howled!

As the sounds billowed far and wide, echoing in the ravines of the Black Hills for hundreds of miles, I realized I wasn’t only a werewolf for that one particularly glorious night.  I was a werewolf inside every second of every day.  I was strong, courageous, and had meaning.  I would be noticed.  I would be feared.  I would fight.  Most importantly, I would make it through whatever I was going through at any time.  I was a wolf.

After the howl, my head fell to my chest, I breathed deeper and stronger, slower and confident…and the Demon smiles.

Signed Sincerely,

W. Stendahl

Goodnight to all of you, no matter where you are!

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And the Demon Smiles...

Chapter 2 – Haunted Houses Part 1

One of the earliest Halloween memories I have as a child was visiting a haunted house around the age of 4.  It was night time on a crisp October day in Michigan.  The leaves were at the perfect time of “in-between” – in between casting the deepest of orange, yellow, and red hues, dangling on the waves of breezes that summoned grey clouds and howling blackness, and their last days dancing upon those same wicked winds through the airs of energy and danger, dried and prickly from dying during the greatest of their days. The perfect time of fall when there are the most moving of pictures before your eyes while at the same time you step on the victims of lost and forgotten art movements. 

I could hear the screams of both teenage girl attendees and of hidden monsters that lurked behind the ominous ticket booth.  The old house was purposefully transformed each autumn to attract guest for 6 weekends in a row, then left to recover for the rest of the year from the terrors that filled its halls and rooms in such quick fashion.  Houses are no different from humans, as we too resonate for decades after fast-acting violence enters our vacant spaces and a few brutal words vibrate within our empty ear canals for split seconds.  I often wonder these days of why overt kindness does not linger within for as long.  Remembering those who have reached out their hands in time of trouble and need is a forced action, an action that requires the memory bearer to push and clear the neural pathway between neurons of fondness like a salt truck in the middle of a Michigan winter.  Yet on the other hand, to remember the times of violence, force, and brutality only requires an opening of the eyes or a brush with familiar color and space.

And the color and space of this haunted house was too much for my young mind and heart to take.  Waiting in line with my older cousin and my father, I could read their faces as they glanced down at me to see if I would move forward with this ominous endeavor or turn and run.  I went with the latter choice, though with finesse.  Gazing upward, I just shook my head “No”, too outnumbered by the echoes of screams to even try to say the actual word.  As my father turned back onto the road to head to the safety of home, I remember looking out the back window, feeling as though I had said “No” when it probably wasn’t going to be that bad.  I felt as though I had given up on my passion and calling for the first time, which I indeed recall as my premiere denial of my being and identity. It would not be the last, despite my cousin whispering to me, “You will get it next time.”  In fact, I know now that if I would have shook my head the opposite direction, it would have been the shining moment that would have not only started me on the road earlier to my infatuation with the glorious holiday, but would have also given me further confidence in who I truly was as a writer, a poet, an artist, a radio station manager dedicated to the macabre, and a real-life monster that would soon make the echoes of screams ring through dead air by my own actions.  So, it seems I would eventually “get it”, right O’ all-knowing reader?  “You will get it next time,” and the Demon smiles.

Signed Sincerely,

 

W. Stendahl

 

Goodnight to all of you, no matter where you are!

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And the Demon Smiles...

Chapter 1 - Halloween

Halloween was the most important night of the year, the day among all days, the holiday that spoke for three months and echoed for the other nine.  Though the toys were nice on Christmas and Easter always brought the distant family together, it was Halloween that seemed to fit just right, no matter my age.  As adolescence hit me early in late elementary school, and the deepest feelings of hate, murder, lust, and rage bubbled to the surface, Halloween whispered in my ear, “I will take care of you.” And it did, and still does. The movies that I watched; the artistic paper I filled with crayon etchings; the words that poured from the back of my throat onto lined, wide-ruled Mead paper; and the adventures I would take with my two neighbors were all guided by, influenced by, and resonated from the vibrations of that one night every year – Halloween. 

Some people, after reading this tale, will say it was made up – it is not.  Some will say that it was violent films that caused my inept actions – they did not, but those beautiful R-rated flicks did give me lots of ideas and the illusion of easy montages.  Some will say that killing animals at such a young age was an indication of what I would become – I did kill animals, even tried my own version of taxidermy with rodents and birds, but I also loved my Collie, Dobermans, ducks (Daisy and Donald), and horses more than life itself.  So, killing animals with my BB gun, fists, and fingers did not cause me to become what I am.  No, what caused me to be what I am right now was what was there all along, from my earliest memory, knocking on the doors of my conscience and brilliant genius, rapping on my doors, oh so gently, ever so gently.  This creature came a rapping on my door at 3 years old, and now still sits ever so crudely and rudely on the ruby chaise lounge in my heart.  It is the maker of murder, the smile of sin, the brand of bad, graciously making my mind and his time the home of Halloween forever. Oh Halloween.  Beautiful, mysterious vixen, Halloween. “I will take care of you,” and the Demon smiles.

Signed Sincerely,

W. Stendahl

Goodnight to all of you, no matter where you are!

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Video Version Available at:  YOUTUBE

Download all audio versions of this blog at:  BANDCAMP

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